Chapter: The Attic Revealed

I spooned another bite of spaghetti into my mouth. I kept my eyes down on my plate. I was too anxious to eat, but I kept spiraling spaghetti on my fork, watching the noodles circle around and around.

“Mom,” I finally said, “I know about the shoes.”

“What?” her spoon fell on her plate. I looked up to meet her eyes, trying to read her thoughts.

“Why didn’t you tell me? I understand, mom. I understand everything,” I whispered. My shoulders sank and I looked down again. I picked up my fork and started swirling the spaghetti on my plate again, distracting myself from the possibility of disappointing my mother. She had been telling me to stay out of that attic since we moved in.

“Honey, what exactly do you understand? What did you see?” she asked, pushing her plate away. Her eyes grew wide.

“Mom, I know that you used to live here. This was where you grew up. I know that grandma was a ballet dancer and her whole life changed when she found out she was pregnant with you. I know that she blamed you for losing her future in dance,” I blurted out.

She stared at me for a few seconds. I didn’t know what she was going to say or do. Yell? Walk away? Lecture me?

She wiped her mouth with her napkin and took a sip of water. “Ashley, how do you know this. I have never told of any of that. I don’t…”

“Mom,” I cut her off. “Grandma’s career was over. She didn’t have a choice but to move here. I saw it all.”

“Saw? Ashley, this is ridiculous. This doesn’t make sense,” she dropped her head into her hands and rubbed her temples.

“Mom, when I put on the shoes,” I started.

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